Soaring to reform

first_imgIT was victory day for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, but the man himself was nowhere to be seen here in Metropolis. It was Wednesday, the day after the May 15 election, and Antonio had undisputed strutting rights. His two candidates had won their seats on the Los Angeles Unified School District board – one unseating a union-backed incumbent. This gave Antonio four of his hand-picked reformers on the seven-member board, a board that once laughed at his quest to take over the schools. Clearly, the laughing would be over. But where was Antonio? Would he be holding the usual press conference, surrounded by a phalanx of grinning school kids and political supporters while “We are the Champions” played in the background? Would he be offering the olive branch to board President Marlene Canter – and the magnanimous “Can’t we all work together?” blather that good-sport winners always feed the seething losers? Would he at least be meeting in the Mayor Cave with the members of his newly formed LAUSD Ninja Power Reform Team – Tamar, Richard, Monica and Yolie – to pass out their assignments? (“We must take down the evil LAUSD Empire before they can use their API Ray of Death to destroy the entire city!”) “Do bureaucracies worry?” Tamar Galatzan asked rhetorically Wednesday, just a few hours after her victory over the LAUSD board incumbent was announced. “I’m guessing that the bureaucracy feels `we’ve survived other reform, and we’ll just wait this out as well.’ And what I want to say is that’s not going to happen this time.” The first order of business for Antonio’s Ninja Power Reformers is to battle the evil LAUSD bureaucracy. Superheroes know you always go straight to the source for the fight. And for the district, that’s through its organizational chart and finances. But that’s just the first step. Remember that 16-point Schoolhouse Plan that Antonio produced last year before he put together his school-board superheroes? Their Ninja Power Reformers plan of action will likely look a lot like that. It wasn’t until Friday that Villaraigosa got to celebrate – soberly, of course, befitting his new role as education overseer – by announcing he was dropping his court fight over AB 1381. That was the bill his friends in Sacramento made to give Antonio the power to oversee the school district. A couple of judges (ones in the service of the school district, no doubt) deemed it unconstitutional. But that doesn’t matter now that he’s got his Ninja Power Reform Team. Laws. They don’t need no stinkin’ laws when they got superpowers. Mariel Garza is a columnist and editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News. Write to her by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But none of that happened Wednesday. It couldn’t. Antonio was out of town, in Gotham of all places, embarking on his Next Big Thing. Even as his dream of total school board control (mwa-ha-ha) was coming to fruition, Villaraigosa had shifted his attention to an even bigger, more terrible foe: global warming. Villaraigosa had flown east shortly after making an election-night appearance. He raised fists, promised changes, then skipped town. Now that this fight was essentially won, there were other world problems to solve with a fancy plan. Poverty: Check. Homelessness: Check. Climate change: Check. Antonio unveiled another plan earlier in the week to make Los Angeles greener (actual details to be worked out later). That was just a prelude to the real deal Wednesday, speaking about the risks and economics of climate change at the Clinton Climate Initiative C40. Big-time. Forget mayor of the Los Angeles. He’s mayor to the world. Antonio might not have been in town, but his Ninja Power Reformers didn’t wait until Friday to show off their new superpower, their Board Majority of Steel. The four converged at a picturesquely ramshackle LAUSD campus downtown near Skid Row on Victory Day to pose for photo ops and talk tough about taking on the dastardly district. last_img